The Myth of Marinade

Trigger Warning

I’ve known about this for a while, but nobody seems to listen. I used to argue this point more, but now I mostly just chuckle to myself and let it go. By looking at the title of this post, you know where I’m going. Marinade is a silly way to waste time before you cook your meats. And how do I know this? Because science.

According to the propaganda arm of cooking known as the USDA, the meats that you would marinate, mostly chicken and steaks, is comprised of mostly water. In fact, 2/3 of the weight of your meat is water. Now look at the ingredients of your favorite marinade. I’m guessing the first ingredient is some kind of oil.

What happens when oil combines with water? Not a whole lot, right? This is why the marinade will flavor the outside of your meat, but it can’t penetrate without being directly injected. And even that injection can only travel along with the fibers of the meat.

America’s Test Kitchen is kind of like a Consumer Reports organization that specializes in cooking. This brief video will agree that marinades will not penetrate meats but will be useful when adding flavor to tofu. But then you run into another problem. That problem is that you are now eating tofu.

I think the next golden calf for me to grind up will be beer can chicken. Have a nice day!